Second Sea Lord

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Second Sea Lord (2SL)
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Ensign of the Royal navy
Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock.jpg
Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock OBE

since 2015

Recommendation of Secretary of State for Defence to the Prime Minister

Approved by HM The Queen
Term length Not fixed (typically 2-3 years)

The Chief of Naval Personnel & Training and Second Sea Lord, commonly just known as the Second Sea Lord (2SL), is one of the most senior admirals of the British Royal Navy after the First Sea Lord and the Fleet Commander (until 2012, the Commander-in-Chief Fleet), and is responsible for personnel and naval shore establishments.


In 1805, for the first time, specific functions were assigned to each of the 'Naval' Lords, who were described as 'Professional' Lords, leaving to the 'Civil' Lords the routine business of signing documents.[1] The Second Naval Lord was the second most senior Naval Lord on the Board of Admiralty and as Chief of Naval Personnel was responsible for handling all personnel matters for the Royal Navy.

The posts of Second Sea Lord and the Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command (CINCNAVHOME) were amalgamated in 1994 following the rationalisation of the British Armed Forces following the end of the Cold War.[2] (The post of Commander-in-Chief, Naval Home Command had been created on 1 July 1969 as a result of the merger of the posts of Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth and Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth.)[3]

2SL is based in Portsmouth in a combined headquarters with the Fleet Commander on Whale Island.[4] Until October 2012 he flew his flag from HMS Victory, the world's oldest commissioned warship, which is preserved in dry dock in Portsmouth.[5] The right to use HMS Victory as a flagship came from his position as CINCNAVHOME, who in turn acquired it from the Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth. Since October 2012, distinct Commander-in-Chief posts have been discontinued and full command responsibility vested in the First Sea Lord, who now flies his flag from Victory.

Second Naval Lords, 1830–1904[edit]

Second Naval Lords include:[6]

Second Sea Lords, 1904–1995[edit]

Second Sea Lords include:[6]

Second Sea Lords and Commanders-in-Chief Naval Home Command 1995-2012[edit]

From 1995-2012 the Second Sea Lord was (as Commander-in-Chief) based in Admiralty House within HMNB Portsmouth (note the Vice-Admiral's flag in this 2006 photo).

Second Sea Lords and Commanders-in-Chief include:[6]

Chiefs of Naval Personnel & Training and Second Sea Lords since 2012[edit]

Rank Name Image In office
Vice Admiral Sir Charles Montgomery KBE ADC VAdm Charles Montgomery.png 2012 (and see above)
Vice Admiral Sir David Steel KBE DL VICE ADMIRAL SIR DAVID STEEL.jpg 2012 – 2015
Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock OBE Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock.jpg 2015 – Present

See also[edit]